Never, ever, EVER send a slide deck to a prospect before a live presentation. Here's why:
- A good presentation is meant to be seen AND heard. Since most human beings are visual learners, your presentation should be full of powerful visuals and images that you, as a live presenter, speak to so that the prospect can easily digest the information. When sent in email, with no additional information, the images can (and should) fall flat. And so do your products.
- Your slides are not your presentation. The deck should not contain all the information you wish to deliver; it should serve as a jumping-off point. The deck will not (and should not) give the meat of your presentation for you.
- You're stealing your own thunder. So, you send the deck, minus your explanation, personality and insight. Then... you show the deck when the prospect comes in. So... he's already seen it and feels you're just repeating content. Like a bored student ignoring the teacher reviewing before the test, your prospect is LESS likely to pay attention during the actual presentation, since he may feel that he's now being talked down to. I mean, he got the information already, right?
- Scanning isn't understanding. At most, a prospect will take 10-15 seconds to scan through a slide deck that arrived via email. Even if the deck is just 20 slides long, that's under one second per slide. Even if the prospect is just scanning for the gist, you'll feel the effects of #3 when you finally do present. And let's remember that this type of approach--taking a multimedia, visual-heavy presentation and forcing the prospect to read it like a book--isn't respecting the way human beings process and absorb information.
- You look uncreative. When you do finally give the presentation and it's exactly the same as the prospect received via email, you will leave the prospect with the impression that you weren't creative or smart enough to create a summary one-sheet PDF of your products and services. This has the added benefit of making you look like a small company with only one pony in barn.